The Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) is an independent not-for-profit organization funded on a fee-for-service model. It is the only regulator whose preclearance service is recognized by Health Canada for advertising directed to healthcare professionals. PAAB works to protect Canadians by ensuring that healthcare product advertising meets the regulatory, scientific, therapeutic, and ethical standards outlined in the Code of Advertising Acceptance. All PAAB approved materials bear the PAAB logo.
Learn more about becoming a member of PAAB and have a voice in our work
PAAB maintains a collaborative relationship with Health Canada. In fact, as an ex-officio observer to the Board of Directors, Health Canada is invited to send an official to attend all PAAB board meetings. Health Canada acts as advisor to the Board without relinquishing any part of its authority under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.
The PAAB board is made up of representatives from a number of key stakeholders within the healthcare landscape. Below you can see a list of member organizations and their appointed representative:
Canadian Association of Medical Publishers (CAMP)
Dr. Cecile Bensimon
Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP)
Lama Abi Khaled
Innovative Medicines Canada
Nurse Practitioner Association of Canada (NPAC)
Canadian Dental Association
Best Medicines Coalition
Canadian Healthcare Communications Providers (CHCP)
Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)
Consumer Council of Canada
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)
The Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board provides independent preclearance and advisory services that enable health product advertising to comply with the Canadian regulatory framework.
Truthful and trustworthy health product advertising that promotes the health and safety of Canadians.
Integrity, Competency, Credibility, Independence, Excellence, Transparency
The PAAB is an independent review agency whose primary role is to ensure that health product communication for prescription, non-prescription, biological and natural health products is accurate, balanced and evidence-based, and reflects current and best practice.
The PAAB also monitors trends in health product advertising and promotion and adjusts its code and practices as required to fulfill its mandate.
The scope of the PAAB includes promotional health product communication for prescription, non-prescription, biological and natural health products to healthcare professionals in all media. PAAB also provides advisory comments on direct-to-consumer materials for prescription drugs.
Rigorous independent review to help ensure promotional materials are balanced, accurate, complete, and trustworthy
Confidence that patient receive accurate and balanced information about their products and diseases
Assurance of a level and compliant playing field for the industry.
Take a look at the evolution of the PAAB from its inception in 1976 to its current structure, policies and practices. View some of our key milestones throughout the years.
The PAAB is incorporated
A little under a year into its existence, The PAAB had 2 staff and reviewed about 400 submissions.
The first official PAAB Code was published to communicate advertising standards. Although the code standards applied to all advertising/promotional systems, preclearance review was required specifically for journal ads and direct mail. The PAAB Code applies to all pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The scope was rapidly expanded to cover service aids, audio programs, and service-oriented vehicles (desk calendars, diaries, personal prescription pads).
The code was updated to include additional provisions which were specific to direct mail and service aids.
The code was revised to specify mandatory preclearance of detail aids and electronic material.
The PAAB recognizes that training is a valuable tool and an important service to offer its clients. The first National Training Workshops took place in Toronto and Montreal. Approximately 100 clients attended the event at each of the two sites. National workshops continue to be offered annually. At these workshops, we strive to address relevant changes in the code, marketplace and regulatory landscape while still exploring the basics of the code. More information about the workshops can be found on our events page
The scope of The PAAB preclearance review was expanded to include opinions of DTCRx advertising and information
A complete rewrite of the code with the addition of explanatory notes to elaborate on the code standards
The PAAB remodelled the complaint process with the addition of mandatory timelines and specification of who could launch a complaint. The complaints process can be found on the PAAB Code website.
The scope of The PAAB preclearance review is expanded to include a formal opinion service for clarification on whether an activity is advertising subject to the regulations, linkage of materials, acceptability of concepts, contextual issues, acceptability of references for product claims, and exemption requests. For more information see “Policy Clarification - Opinions and Complete Submission Procedure”
In recognition of tight timelines around product launches, the PAAB offers a pre-NOC review of up to two Advertising/Promotional Systems (APS) once the Health Canada review of the product monograph is at final-draft stage. PAAB approval will not be provided until the product monograph is approved by Health Canada and the drug product is issued Notice of Compliance.
The scope of the code was expanded to include materials directed to patients through healthcare professionals. Standards relating to internet advertising were also added to the code.
Key issues were visited during this revision and update to the PAAB Code. Most notably was the issue of Prescribing Information. Prescribing Information includes important information that may be required for the optimal, safe and effective us of a drug product. Standards specific to digital advertising were incorporated into the code.
With the growing number of staff, The PAAB needed a larger space. In January of 2012, PAAB moved into our new and current office space at 300 -1305 Pickering Parkway. Early February The PAAB hosted an Open house for all its clients to view the new office.
Major revisions to the PAAB Code were implemented in 2013. These changes included a revamp of the evidence sections of the PAAB code. There was also a major update to the fair balance requirements. Fair balance is a term used to describe the presentation of risk information in a manner which is sufficient with respect to comprehensiveness and emphasis. The code was also revised to provide more specific guidance around digital tools such as websites, ipads, search engine optimization/marketing etc.
The PAAB Board of Directors commissioned an independent audit of the PAAB reviews mechanism to assess overall operational performances and consistency within the review system. The audit was completed by Integrated Pharma Services. A summary of the results can be seen here.
PAAB celebrates 40 years of excellence delivering pre-clearance review in support of trustworthy healthcare product communications within the Canadian regulatory landscape.
Currently The PAAB sits at 21 staff members, 14 or which are Reviewers. In 2016, the team completed over 7,700 reviews. PAAB continues to progress. Stay in the know about the future by signing up to our newsletter, reading our newsletters in the resource section, and following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Agencies that have submitted advertising for PAAB review on behalf of the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies.
14eight Santé Numérique Inc
9345-1965 Quebec Inc
Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle
Anderson DDB Sante Vie Esprit
Antibody Healthcare Communications
Arrivals + Departures Communications Limited
Atlas Content Studio Inc
Attitude Marketing Inc.
Bang Albino inc
Biotext Solutions Inc
Bloom Search Marketing
Boiron Canada Inc
Boondoc Technologies Incorporated
Brest Consulting Inc
Brightworks Inter. Marketing
Cameron Stewart LifeScience Inc
CDM Montreal Inc
Certo Creative Inc
ClearMed Consulting and Communications Inc
Commix Communications Inc
CORE Health Communications Inc
CPC Healthcare Communications
Curatio Networks Inc
Elite Digital Inc
eMotion Picture Studios
Enterprise de communications Tank inc
FCB Health Canada
FUSE Health Inc
Gallant Leaman Group
Glia Scientific Communication
Graphite Digital Ltd
Havas Life Toronto
Health 4 Brands
Healthwise Creative Resource Group
Hill & Knowlton Strategies
Integrated Medhealth Communication North America
Knight Labs Inc
KS Integrated Communications
Lemieux Bedard Communication
Lifestyle Hearing Corporation
LSD The Agency
Lyceum CME Inc
Marketing 4 Health Inc
Master Clinician Alliance
Maven Medical Marketing Inc
Media Platforms Inc
Meducom Health Inc
Murphy Paolucci Communications Inc
National Public Relations
No Fixed Address Inc
Oromo Digital Group Inc
Outpost 379 Inc
Pinnacle Marketing & Education
Publicis Toronto, a division of Publicis Canada Inc
Ravenshow Creative Inc
RB Health (Canada) Inc
Renegade Digital Media Inc
SenovvA Canada ULC
Sentrex Health Solutions Inc
Services Indegene Aptilion Inc
SFC Group, LLC
Small Dog Communications Inc
Solisco Printing Inc
STA Healthcare Communications
Syneous Health Canada Inc
Tall Order Consulting
The Gibson Group
The IDea Shoppe
Toc Toc Communications
Trois Prime Inc
Healthcare Product companies that have submitted advertising for PAAB review.
Alk-Abello Pharmaceuticals Inc
Amgen Canada Inc
Angita Pharma Inc.
AstraZeneca Canada Inc
Bausch Health (Canada) Inc
BioSyent Pharma Inc
Bristol Myers Squibb Canada
Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Canada Inc
Emergent BioSolutions Canada Inc
Gilead Sciences Canada
HLS Thereapeutics Inc.
Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd
Indivior Canada Ltd
JAMP Pharma Corporation
Knight Therapeutics Inc
Kyowa Kirin Canada Inc.
Leo Pharma Inc
Mead Johnson Nutrition (Canada) Co
Merck Frosst Canada Ltd
Novartis Canada Inc
Novo Nordisk Canada Inc
Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical
Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals
Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetique Canada Inc
Pierrel Pharma S.R.L
RB Health Canada
Sandoz Canada Inc
Sanofi Pasteur Limited
Seagen Canada inc
Sunovion Phamaceuticals Inc
Takeda Canada Inc
ViiV Healthcare ULC